The sports industry is huge, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue and $20 billion in annual media rights. Consequently, precipitous falls in youth participation in sports raise questions about the sustainability of leagues and media companies. A recent study from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School explored the decline in youth sports participation and examined the factors that might contribute to it. Ultimately, this study suggests that the decline is largely due to cultural factors.
A study by the National Alliance for Sports found that 70 percent of adolescents who started playing a sport in middle school would stop by the end of their high school years. While some may switch sports or get involved in other extracurricular activities, many simply gave up on sports altogether. Why? Many factors contribute to this apathy. In addition to cultural differences, a growing population means that the sport needs a human face.
Another factor, including choice, is the mentality of people. A lot of people don’t play a sport, so they don’t get the psychological benefits associated with winning. However, if you are an avid fan of a certain sport, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy watching your favorite team. That doesn’t mean you’ll lose interest, but if you aren’t a fan, it’s not the most important reason.